construction workers on site

Thousands of protesters participated in a rally in early December 2015, hoping to bring attention to the need for increased safety on the job site for construction workers. Participants carried a casket behind a bag-pipe procession to symbolize the 18 construction workers who died on the job in 2015.

The Dangers Of Construction Work

Every year, thousands of construction workers are seriously injured while on the job. Sadly, these injuries typically occur due to the negligence of another party and the lack of enforcement of safety regulations. The most common causes of construction injuries and fatalities are:

Scaffolding Collapse

Both standing and suspended scaffolding is used frequently by construction workers. OSHA has very strict rules regarding the building and use of scaffolding which addresses the maximum weight allowed on the structure, the height of safety bar, and the spacing between planks. When these regulations aren’t followed, a worker can fall long distances to the ground.

Electrocution

Electricity is a wonderful thing but live wires can be very dangerous. In order for electricity to flow, the “circuit” must be completed. A human body can be used to complete the circut when someone touches a live wire. Electrocution can stop the heart, damage nerves, and leave any part of the body covered in serious burns.

Heavy Machinery

These large and incredibly heavy machines can do great work while in the hands of a qualified professional. But when mistakes are made, or the machinery has a defect, destruction and injury may occur.

Falling Objects

All it takes is a small bump to send paint cans, tools, wood, or bricks flying over the edge of a building or scaffolding. Even with a hard hat on, these falling objects can seriously injure or kill any worker that is unlucky enough to be hit.

Who Can Be Held Accountable?

Every accident is different, but in the majority of cases, the property owner, general contractor, subcontractor, or the company who made a defective product can be held liable for the injuries caused by their negligence.

Gary LaBarbera, who is the president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, said “Tragedies at construction sites have become all too common. We are outraged — and all of New York should be outraged — that irresponsible developers and contractors increasingly are putting their bottom lines ahead of the workers who are the lifeblood of their businesses. This must end.”

Joining him in this rally were several public officials, clergy, community members, and the families of many construction workers. Many of them spoke of the “Price of Life” report, released by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, which addresses the causes of each death in construction in 2015.

Wrongful Death In New York

The estate or family of a loved one whose death was caused by the negligence of another person, are allowed to pursue legal action against the responsible party.

By filing a wrongful death lawsuit, the deceased’s survivors may be able to receive compensation for :

  • funeral and burial expenses
  • any medical bills for treatment prior to death
  • wages and benefits lost by the deceased
  • support and services provided by the deceased
  • any lost inheritance by the surviving children.

In order to have a case, the plaintiffs must be able to prove the following:

  1. That a death did in fact occur.
  2. That the death was caused by the negligent acts of the defendant.
  3. That the survivors are now suffering from losses due to the death of their loved one.

While it is good to know that the loved ones of the construction workers who suffered fatal accidents in the past year have a way to seek compensation for their losses, it would be better if their construction accidents had been prevented in the first place. Hopefully this rally can bring attention to the needs of so many.


by Lever Gottfried Ecker PLLC
Last updated on - Originally published on